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Are You Ready for Some Football? Students Access NFL Inner World through Telepresence

April 12, 2012 at 8:26 am PST

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. As a child, did you dream of making it as a professional athlete? Or, perhaps, as you grew a little older and your own athletic prowess gave way to other skills, you wished to someday work among the sports stars you so loved and admired?

Thanks to the extensive education outreach programs provided by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, today’s youngsters who aspire to careers in professional football can learn how to make these dreams into realities. Using telepresence, the Hall of Fame reaches students in all 50 states with virtual fieldtrips to National Football League (NFL) offices and museum collections and archives. The in-person, real-time telepresence connections let participating students speak directly with NFL doctors, accountants, public relations leaders, sales staff, and more, enabling them to learn how these employees earned their positions and what it takes to succeed. The telepresence links also let the Hall of Fame use special document cameras and computers to bring some of its 15,000 football artifacts “directly” into classrooms. Read More »

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Telepresence Can Build Bridges Between Young Learners

February 3, 2012 at 10:04 am PST

Two classes of New Jersey middle school students recently enjoyed a unique opportunity for exchange with their peers. From neighboring towns, the eighth graders live worlds away from each other demographically—one town is largely affluent and white, while the other is mostly low income with a predominately black and Hispanic population. Each class studied John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and they visited each other’s schools to discuss perceptions of the novel.

As reported in The New York Times, the students at both middle schools found the interaction with their counterparts eye-opening and rewarding, both in terms of literary analysis and cultural understanding. The ability to see the text—and life—from a different perspective fostered a rich educational experience.

With telepresence and other collaborative technologies, students are able to mimic the exchange in which the New Jersey youth participated, except they could share ideas with and experience the cultures of peers not only across town boundaries, but also across state lines and country borders. Telepresence enables a real-time, high-definition connection that allows for a quality of conversation comparable to in-person interaction, creating a unified classroom across geographies. The telepresence set-up establishes an environment that feels inclusive and intimate—the students would feel as though they had traveled to each other’s schools. They could see the detail in each other’s settings, in clothes, hairstyles, facial expressions, and other aesthetics that make up parts of a culture. Read More »

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Generation Telepresence: Putting Video in the Palms of Students’ Hands

November 4, 2011 at 5:31 am PST

Put tablets, laptops, netbooks, among other devices, in the hands of grade- school students, and it’s only minutes before they’re innovating, creating, and communicating.

From the time they’re aware of the world around them, today’s children see and use technology. I’ve written before about the ubiquity of technology in the classrooms of our youngest learners, and as noted in a recent Education Week article, schools continue to experiment with available technology to determine the right tools to maximize their students’ learning. Read More »

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Telepresence Helps Cut Costs and Add Value to Summer School Instruction

August 8, 2011 at 9:22 am PST

For most students, summer school may not be the most glamorous way to spend the treasured sun-drenched days of the long-awaited summer vacation. But, summer school classes provide enrichment opportunities for many students, as well as crucial remedial instruction for students who have fallen behind during the school year.

Unfortunately, according to the New York Times, schools increasingly have to cut summer school funding to make up for budget shortfalls. In some districts principals and teachers have offered to work without pay, while other schools have shut down summer programs altogether. Read More »

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Telepresence Fosters Real Learning Through Virtual Exposure to Science

June 24, 2011 at 9:44 am PST

Have you ever explored one of the first rockets to launch into space? You haven’t? Then what are you waiting for? Go to the New York Hall of Science!

Oh, you don’t live in New York. No problem, the museum will come to you through one of its Telepresence virtual tours.

With Cisco TelePresence, the Hall of Science takes remote visitors all around its museum floor. People in places like Sacramento, California; Seattle, Washington; St. Joseph, Michigan; Ontario, Canada; and Mexico City, Mexico have gone to the Hall of Science to dissect cows’ eyes, learn about the phases of matter, and study the science of sports—and they haven’t set foot on an airplane.

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